Gold Star Families: Unique Ways to Remember Your Loved Ones

Losing a loved one is one of the most traumatic experiences one can ever experience. There are so many strategies people use to cope. Some of these strategies can be destructive. In order to avoid destructive patterns or coping mechanisms, it’s a great idea to get counseling. In addition to getting counseling for your grief, you can also create beautiful traditions in order to honor your loved one’s memory. If you need a few ideas to get started, consider some of the following options.

1. Candle Lighting

For many people, it’s really relaxing to light a candle. Candles are great for creating a certain type of ambiance. If you’re having a particularly rough day with your grief, consider this an opportunity to create. You can create your own scented candle that’s named in honor of your loved one. When you have all of the materials like the wax, scented oils, and wicks, you can create it at any time you’d like. As you light the candle, it can serve as a reminder of how your loved one’s presence lit up your life. As you reflect on their life, you can allow the lessons and memories to light up your future. It’s a sweet, creative and thoughtful way to channel your grief into something positive.

2. Jewelry

Fashion is fun because it makes the statement before an individual even opens their mouth. There are so many interesting ways to make a statement. However, one of the most amazing ways to make a statement involves accessories. You can use statement jewelry to honor your loved one. Just like Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City wore her iconic nameplate necklace, you can wear a nameplate of your loved one’s name. Another great way to keep them close is by wearing a necklace of their ashes. If your loved one was cremated, you can ask the professionals to preserve the ashes for your family. A bullet necklace for ashes is a great, sleek and interesting way to preserve their memory as you carry them wherever you go.

3. Journaling

Journaling can be an amazing way to honor your loved one’s memory. While there are certain memories you never want to forget, you’d be surprised at how much you can forget over the years. In order to preserve the memories, consider doing your best to write them all down. You don’t have to pull out a pen and paper if you don’t want to. There are plenty of interesting ways to create a journal. You can create an on-going Google document with different stories and memories you’ve written in a digital format. If that’s too much, you can pull out a camera. Record yourself talking about the different memories that you shared with your loved one. If you have different props, pictures or mementos to help you communicate the experiences, that will only enhance the quality of your journal.

4. Birthday Celebration

If you’re looking for a reason to throw a party, you can throw one in honor of your loved one. You can turn it into a yearly celebration. Even though they won’t be able to attend, you can create a vibe that honors who they were. If your loved one was a major bookworm, you can ask everyone to bring a book to the party. Once you’ve collected all of the books, you can donate them to a local shelter for the less fortunate. You can throw many types of parties you’d like. If you just have an element or two that’s reminiscent of your loved one’s favorite things, that will be perfect. For example, if your loved one was a huge fan of Latin food, make sure the caterer knows to make empanadas, tacos and other options from the culture.

As you consider options that inspire you to honor your loved one, make sure you’re gentle with yourself. If a birthday celebration might be a trigger for you, it’s okay to choose something else. The purpose isn’t just to honor your loved one. It’s also supposed to help you find healing in keeping their memory alive for your own peace. As you take it one step at a time, you’ll find a pace that works for you.

Contributed by Hannah Boothe

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